A series of high-level internal documents exposed the bank was deliberately charging "over and above" costs to protect revenue, the Federal Court trial was told.
And the bank was worried about the potential "catastrophic" risk of losing tens of millions of dollars from regulation that would restrict fees to mere cost recovery.
It discussed the possibility of jacking up other types of fees "to plug any revenue gaps", Michael Lee, SC, said.
ANZ customers are seeking $57 million in compensation through a class action funded by Bentham IMF (Australia) Ltd.
It is the first major bank to go to trial as 185,000 Australians try to recover $240 million from eight banks in the nation's biggest class action.
ANZ is defending the matter.
Mr Lee said it was as "plain as pikestaff" that the bank was charging more than costs to boost profit margins.
Bank strategy documents discussing proposed fee changes also discussed how few customers did not switch banks on the basis of exception fees, he said.
The fees were regarded as "a significant part of transaction banking profit and loss".
The hearing, before Justice Michelle Gordon, was told dishonour fees were "hardest to justify" to customers and regulators because "no service is provided".
Mr Lee said a planned 2009 redraft and renaming of fees was a guise designed to continue to charge exception fees by creating "essentially a fiction of providing a fee for service".
Documents showed one technical project manager "calling a spade a spade" referred to penalty fees, he said.
The ANZ and other major banks have abolished or reduced various fees in recent years.
The case, which is listed for three weeks, continues.
news.com.au 2 Dec 2013